My Gender Is ‘Fill in the Blank’

genderlessCharisma News 27 February 2015
Now that Time magazine has told us that transgender is the new black, I’m going to say something politically incorrect: Your gender is not whatever you think it is. Put another way, there is no such thing as, “My gender is ‘fill in the blank.'”

Unfortunately, Facebook didn’t get the memo, and so, according to AP’s Martha Mendoza, “Facebook users who don’t fit any of the 58 gender identity options offered by the social media giant are now being given a rather big 59th option: fill in the blank.” (Yes, I know this sounds crazy, but it’s true.)

One year ago, I reported on Facebook’s new policy which offered American users 50 ways to describe their gender, including up to 10 different descriptions simultaneously.

Unknown to me, that number somehow increased to 58, as noted in the most recent report. But 58 “gender identity options” were obviously not enough. Some people needed another option, one they could quite literally make up themselves.

As Mendoza explains, “Facebook software engineer Ari Chivukula, who identifies as transgender and was part of the team that made the free-form option, thinks the change will lead to more widespread acceptance of people who don’t identify themselves as a man or woman.”

Come again? By allowing people to describe their gender however they imagine it to be, this will lead to “more widespread acceptance” for them? And you can be a human being without having to identify “as a man or woman”?

In the vast majority of cases here, we’re not talking about someone with a serious, biological or chromosomal issue, because of which their gender identity is debatable.

I truly care for people who struggle with their gender identity, especially little children, who cannot possibly be accused of having some kind of sinister agenda, and I do hope we can get to the root of the very deep and significant issues that contribute to the feeling of disharmony they experience between their bodies and their minds.

But it is madness to have 58 ways to describe your gender or, worse still, to offer a “fill in the blank” option to describe your gender.

It needs to stop.

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